Dictator game giving: altruism or artifact?

Bardsley, Nicholas (2008) Dictator game giving: altruism or artifact? Experimental Economics, 11 (2). pp. 122-133. ISSN 1573-6938

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Experimental dictator games have been used to explore unselfish behaviour. Evidence is presented here, however, that subjects’ generosity can be reversed by allowing them to take a partner’s money. Dictator game giving therefore does not reveal concern for consequences to others existing independently of the environment, as posited in rational choice theory. It may instead be an artefact of experimentation. Alternatively, evaluations of options depend on the composition of the choice set. Implications of these possibilities are explored for experimental methodology and charitable donations respectively. The data favour the artefact interpretation, suggesting that demand characteristics of experimental protocols merit investigation, and that economic analysis should not exclude context-specific social norms.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: NCRM Publications
Subjects: 1. Frameworks for Research and Research Designs > 1.1 Epistemology
2. Data Collection > 2.3 Survey and Questionnaire Design
2. Data Collection > 2.12 Data Collection (other)
Depositing User: Mr Jon Earley
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2008 10:54
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:50
URI: https://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/id/eprint/486
DOI: 10.1007/s10683-007-9172-2

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